When was the last time you tested out the way you deliver
services to your business? Think about that for a moment. You might be quick to
respond by saying that you are doing pretty well. The key is really being able
to quantify the level of success so that you can build an improvement strategy.
You might want to consider testing yourself to see just how well you are doing.
Here are a few favortites, in no particular order:
Test #1 Disaster Recovery
How would you stack up in in situations that were outside
the ‘normal’ circumstances? Is there a continuity plan for IT in place?
Is IT prepared to ensure that services continue in the
event of some sort of unforeseen disruption? Are they aligned with some form of
business continuity plan? The first test should be to see how we would handle
such an interruption and identify where gaps may exist. Performing these drills
or tests where appropriate allows us as an IT organization to ensure we know
what to do in the event of an emergency and where some adjustments to our plan
could be made. Just like a fire drill.
Test #2 Have other process owners review your process
When you are in the day to day you may not see what’s
really going on. Suppose you had the Change manager review the Service desk
process and the Service desk manager review change. It is likely that each
other would have questions on why certain things are done the way that they are
and some gaps may be found in the process. Also this gives you a chance to not
only learn about what each other does but get a better sense of the overall
delivery of service you are providing.
Test #3 Reviews with Customers
Do you regularly review with your customers, whether
internal or external? Do you know how well you are doing or if there are any
areas for improvement? I have said it
before and I will say it again, IT and the business can have very different
perceptions when it comes to how efficiently service is being provided. If we,
as an IT organization, leverage our own measures only we can only see half the
On one hand you might perform some review on “how you are
doing” on the other hand if the reviewer is internal are they being as
objective as they can possible be?
It is easy to solicit feedback when you are NOT providing
a good customer experience. Unfortunately we are more likely to get complaints
rather than compliments however when we are at the bottom we get loads of
valuable feedback. On the flip side when we provide adequate service we are
less likely to get voluntary feedback.
Service - Dialogue = No Service Improvements
To test out our performance we should be talking with
our customers on validate what is working well, and what needs some improvement. Remember it's possible that there may be issues with services which
we are not even aware of. Due to your organizational culture they may have never even been escalated to the
service desk before.
The tricky part of this is to manage it in a way that
will ensure that you can respond to it appropriately. Starting small will allow
your teams to get a solid handle on it. You may want to have regular meetings
with your business unit(s) to start providing how you perceive your performance
to be and let them drive the discussion. These meetings could be as regular as
you deem necessary but make sure you share the information with IT in a way
that will generate discussions within your own teams to promote the improvement
initiative within IT
Think of these tests in terms of the analogy of a frog in a
warm pot of water. You can turn up the heat on the stove and after a while the frog may jump
out of the pot when it get too hot. In other cases it may not jump out in time and may get boiled before it has time to react.
Please feel free to share
your tests with me as well!
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Labels: Continual Service Improvement, ITIL, ITSM, Service Management